Police suspect that homophobia may be behind the murder of former Banyana Banyana soccer player Eudy Simelane, reports Talk Radio 702.

According to police, Simelane’s half naked body was found by a passerby on Monday in a field near the KwaThema hostel in the East Rand in Gauteng.

She had been stabbed several times and it is believed that she was also raped.

Five men, most in their early twenties, have been arrested in connection with the murder. Police have confiscated a knife thought to be the murder weapon.

A number of lesbians have recently been the victims of high profile hate crime attacks in South Africa.

In February 2006, Zoliswa Nkonyana was beaten, stoned and stabbed to death by a group of around 20 men in Khayelitsha in the Cape. The trial of her alleged murderers is set to start on May 19.

In July 2007 Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Massoa were murdered in Soweto. Their deaths led to the formation of the 07-07-07 End Hate Campaign.

Banyana Banyana (“the girls”) is the name given to South Africa’s women’s soccer team which was first assembled as a national squad in 1993.

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